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Vol. 4, No. 2 | February 2012

 

 

 

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Coming Soon: Voice Controlled TV
Speak Your Mind and Change the Channel

US MED Gives BackTelevision set manufacturers are racing to develop voice recognition systems for TV sets, set-top boxes and related products. They want to do away with remotes.

At Nuance Communications, the world's largest supplier of voice recognition technology, they predict that many device makers will ship products that understand voice commands either this year or next.

Microsoft has the lead with technology developed for Kinect, an Xbox peripheral with cameras, motion sensors and sensitive microphones. After waking up the system by saying Xbox, subscribers to Microsoft's $60-a-year Xbox LIVE service can search for shows, movies and games by speaking to Microsoft's Bing search engine.

More than 3 million Comcast subscribers have downloaded an app that turns their smartphone into a remote control for the company's Xfinity broadband service. Comcast is looking at adding voice-control features to the app, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The biggest challenge is making software smarter. Kinect users are limited to preset commands, and iPhone 4S users often hear Siri tell them, "I don't understand."

Another problem, if all electronics within earshot responded at once, it would be a nightmare.

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